SIDNEY — “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again it is touched, as surely it will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
These words from Abraham Lincoln at his first inauguration are as timely today as when first spoke over 150 years ago. It may even seem that this country is again faced with similar “passion” as at the time when Lincoln sought to unite all citizens of this great republic.
According to Sidney Police Chief Will Balling and Shelby County Chief Deputy Jim Frye, reports have come from locations throughout the city and county of the taking and/or damaging of political signs on both sides of the political aisle.
“Though we are all granted the right to our own opinion on political matters, that right ends at the property line of a neighbor,” the pair said in a press release.
The Ohio Revised Code (direct legal descendant of the Ohio Constitution and the United States Constitution) addresses the acts of taking and/or damaging of such political signs. Such acts may be classified as theft and criminal damaging. Additionally, if crossing onto another’s property to commit these crimes, a charge of criminal trespass may also apply. These crimes are punishable by jail time and fines upon conviction.
The press release continjues, “the local law enforcement agencies are not aligned with any political party and are charged to “serve and protect” equally the person and property of all citizens. If such crimes are committed and subsequent investigation produces probable cause to believe a particular person committed the act, that person may be arrested and charged. Citizens do not have a right to enter upon the property of another and remove or trample items simply because they disagree with one another.
“Ideally, each citizen should “police” themselves and remember that though we may differ on candidates and issues, we are still neighbors. We drive the same roads, shop the same stores, perhaps worship similarly, work in the same fields, and our children attend the same schools. These characteristics make us neighbors; and, Shelby County has a proud tradition of watching out for and helping our neighbors. Please continue this legacy,” the release concludes.